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The Resurrection of Jesus Christ 

An Historical Fact 


The Resurrection of Jesus Christ 

An Historical Fact 


By 

Reverend Tkomas Considine, PP. MA. (Oxon) 


Cover Art: Noli Me Tangere (Touch Me Not), in the style ol the Earhj Renaissance 

by Fra Angelico (Est. 1395 — 1455). The Iresco was accomplished 
between 1440 and 1442. The original is currently in the Convento di San 
Marco in Florence, Italy. This is a laithl ul photographic reproduction ol 
an original two-dimensional work ol art, which is in the Public Domain. 



The original ol this work is in the public domain in the United 
States and other countries and areas where the copyright term 
is the author's life plus 100 years or less. 


Table ol Contents 


Introduction 

Wlio was Jesus Christ? 

Did Christ Rise from the Dead? 

Argument of the Informed Catholic 
Early Belief in the Resurrection 
Epistles of Saint Paul 
Acts of the Apostles 
Saint Paul in the Acts 
The Four Gospels 
Testimony of Pagan Authors 
Tacitus 
Pliny 

The Problem of the Empty Tomh 
The Tomb Was Empty 
Modern Hypotheses 
Jewish Leaders Explanation 

Were tlie disciples rogues or fools? 

Were tbe disciples fanatics? 

Convincing Others 

Saint Paul Discusses the Resurrection 


Summary 


Appendices 


Appendix I. 
Appendix II (a). 
Appendix lift,). 
Appendix III. 
Appendix IV. 
Appendix V. 


From the Annals of Tacitus (xv, 44) 

From Letters of Pliny the You nger (Traj. 96) 

Note on Pliny s Letter 

The Attitude of Sir W illiam Ramsay 

From Saint P aul s First Epistle to the Corinthians (Chapter 15) 
From the Four Gospels 

V (a). Tlie Empty Tomb 

V (b). Tlie First Apparition 

V (c). Tlie First Witness 

V (d). Peter and Jobn 

V (e). Mary Magdalen 

V (f). Tbe Disciples at Enimaus 

V (g). First Appearance to tbe Apostles 

V (la). Tlie Apparition to Tb omas 

V (i). By tbe Sea of Tiberias 
V(j). On tbe Mount of Galilee 


Introduction 

Let us begin with the present. The world is not very Christian, or, at least, many people 
in the Western countries are only vaguely Christian. They do not consciously guide their 
lives by Christian teaching. Yet, the entire Western world bears traces of an influence 
that has helped mould the characters of all peoples living in the West. Even those who 
consciously renounce all allegiance to Christianity owe much to this influence. They owe 
many of their ideals, though often distorted because torn from their framework, to the 
Christian Church. Traces of the Church’s influence are manifest everywhere, for it has 
exercised a deep and wide influence on the history of the world. 

In every city, town, and village of the Western world, there are buildings of every kind 
that owe their origin to the Christian Faith. Some are very old or in ruins, some are 
recent, and some are still in the course of erection. They comprise churches, schools, 
monasteries, hospitals, and laboratories. Those who built them were inspired by motives 
rooted in their Christian religion. Yet, these are only external evidence. The internal 
evidences are more impressive. 

The regulating of the working week and of the year indicates how deeply was the 
Christian view of the universe ingrained in the life of the people. The week of seven days 
and the observance of the Sabbath, though not Christian in origin, got their present form 
from the Christian Church. The holiday times of Christmas and Easter are Christian. 

With many, the real meaning is almost totally lost. However, the times were chosen, and 
the meanings attached to them were decided, by the Church, and their observance became 
universal. The very word holiday meant “holy day.” The calendar by which the world 
regulates national and international affairs is the Gregorian calendar, the calendar 
reformed under the authority of Pope Gregory XIII. It was accepted by the world 
because of the authority of the Christian Church. 

The laws by which the Western world lives are shot through and through with evidences 
of Christian influence. In a little book of lectures, The Changing Law, Sir Alfred 
Denning, Lord Justices for one of the Court of Appeals in England, writes, “The common 
law of England has been molded for centuries by judges who have been brought up in the 
Christian Faith. The precepts of religion, consciously or unconsciously, have been their 
guides in the administration of justice.” 

Perhaps the best way to realize how vital has been the Christian influence on Western 
civilization is to consider what would be left if we took away what was due to 
Christianity. For some centuries now, the governments of countries nominally Christian 
have relied in practice on “reason alone.” The Christian guide to life is “Reason 
enlightened by Faith.” 


The achievements of science, divorced in practice from faith, have been great; but 
Bertrand Russell, in one of his broadcast lectures during his Australian tour, made a 
significant admission. After praising these achievements, he said, “So far we have not 
been able to eliminate fear.” Is there any reason to believe that science, unenlightened by 
faith, will ever eliminate fear? Does not the present state of acute world anxiety point in 
the opposite direction? We all know what the Fascist, the Nazi, the Communist theories 
of life, which deny the Christian Faith, produce in practice. 

Western civilization, of course, does not complete the picture. The Church has been very 
active in other countries as well. Africa, the Middle East (where the Church began), the 
Far East, and the Pacific Islands all bear testimony to her influence. However, for our 
present purpose, it is enough to point out how vital and enduring that influence has been 
in the civilization with which the likely readers of this pamphlet are familiar. 

What was the cause or origin of this great movement in the history of mankind? The 
Church herself has her explanation. Her explanation is that she was founded by an 
historical figure, Jesus Christ, Who died and rose from the dead. The Church’s enemies 
do not accept this explanation; and, if evidence is produced in support of the Christian 
explanation, they deny its worth. However, they deny it, not for historical reasons, but 
because it contradicts that upon which they have already decided. They say, “How could 
such an unbelievable story about a resurrection have been true? Isn’t it easy to see that 
once Christianity got under way, these mythical accounts would arise?” 

The Christian position is this, “Yes, we realize that what we say is unusual and 
unexpected, but the fact is that that is what actually happened.” Let us examine this 
explanation and see on what evidence it rests. 


Who was Jesus Ckrist? 

There was a time when the opponents of Christianity even denied the existence of an 
historical Christ. However, there is no dispute today about some of the facts in the life of 
Jesus Christ. He lived in Palestine, put himself forward as a teacher, exerted a great 
influence on the Jewish people, and incurred the hostility of the Jewish leaders. He was 
condemned to death by them, and they forced the hands of the Roman Governor, Pontius 
Pilate, to put the sentence into execution. He was crucified and taken down for dead, and 
was buried. That is the account of the four Gospels. It is accepted now by every writer 
on the subject. 


Did Ckrist Rise from tke Dead? 

What happened after that? It is here that honest divergence of opinion can arise, until the 
evidence is sifted and weighed. The evidence of the gospels is that the disciples of Jesus 
Christ maintained that He arose from the dead but that those who brought about His death 
denied it. The onus of proof was on the disciples, for, in common human experience, 
dead men do not come to life again. However, denial was not enough to discredit the 
claim. The empty tomb had to be explained. 

Before discussing the empty tomb, the first step in arguing the truth of the resurrection is 
to show that the early Christians did believe it. We began this pamphlet by asking, 

“What was the source of the great influence Christianity has exercised on the world?” 
Catholics say it was the resurrection of Christ. If Christ rose from the dead, is it any 
wonder that His teaching exerted such an influence and is it any wonder that after 1900 or 
nearly 2,000 years the movement He began still exerts influence? 

However, did He rise from the dead? What is the evidence for it? The first point we 
have to establish is that the early Christians did believe in the resurrection and that it was 
part of the gospel. If belief in the resurrection was a late development, as some of the 
deniers of the resurrection allege, then our whole case is worthless. Where are we going 
to get the evidence? We say that as well as the evidence of tradition we have the 
evidence of the New Testament. Opponents have denied the validity of the New 
Testament, and, in the main, their objections take this form, “The New Testament 
writings describe the resurrection as an actual occurrence, but the resurrection did not 
take place because it could not, and so the New Testament is inadmissible as trustworthy 
evidence.” 


Argument of tke Informed Catkolic 

In general, the argument of the informed Catholic is this: The earliest Christian records 
show that the first Christians always appealed to the resurrection as an important proof of 
the message they had to give, the Gospel, as they called it. The worth of the New 
Testament evidence generally is corroborated by a constant tradition and by evidence of 
pagan authors writing a few decades later. There is no reason to deny the historical worth 
of the New Testament except for the extraordinary story that is being told, and the writers 
reveal that they were well aware that they were relating an extraordinary story. Whether 
the resurrection is believed or not, there is no good reason to doubt the facts they relate in 
connection with it. 


It is manifestly impossible to rebut the arguments of those who impugn the worth of the 
New Testament as historical documents, if the arguments are based not on the evidence 
but on hypothesis. Again, if the origins of Christianity are not such as are described in 
the New Testament, what were its origins? The multitude of contradictory hypotheses 
that have been put forward to explain its birth and growth is an indication of the weak 
case there really is, against the truth of the resurrection. 

It is beyond the learning of most of us to assess fully the value of the arguments for and 
against the worth of the New Testament. We give, however, an example, found not far 
from home, of the type of reasoning that is common with those who do not accept the 
traditional Christian view of the New Testament and the resurrection. It is not beyond the 
ability of most of us to detect its worthlessness and its dependence on hypothesis and not 
on evidence {See Appendix II (b)}. 


Earlij Belief in tke Resurrection 

The following references to passages from the New Testament show how close is the 
association between belief in the resurrection and the kernel of the Gospel. We would 
point out that the order of appearance of the various books of the New Testament is still a 
matter of dispute among biblical scholars. However, one need not be a biblical scholar to 
see that, though it may not be easy to determine the exact order, it is possible to say that 
one book is earlier or later than another book. The evidence is in the books themselves. 

The Acts of the Apostles, for example, is later than the gospel of Saint Luke, because in 
the Acts there is a reference to the gospel. Therefore, it is easy to see that by piecing 
together the evidence in the writings themselves, scholars can arrive at some measure of 
agreement as to what books are early and what late. If then there is reference in an 
undoubtedly early book to the resurrection, it is evidence that the resurrection was an 
early belief of the Christian Church. It does not matter, however, in what order we 
examine the New Testament books; in almost every one of them, early or late, there is a 
reference to the close association between belief in the resurrection and the essence of the 
Gospel. 


Epistles of Saint Paul 

In I Thess, 1, 10, around the year 51, Saint Paul wrote, “You have turned away from 
idolatry to the worship of God, so as to serve a living God, a God who really exists, and 
to wait for the appearance of his son from heaven, Jesus, whom he raised from the dead, 
our Savior from the vengeance that is to come.” 


Saint Paul wrote his First Epistle to the Corinthians around the year 55. In the 15* 
Chapter, there is a long discussion on the Christian belief in the resurrection of all men 
from the dead and the resurrection of Christ. (The whole chapter is given in Appendix 
IV.) Here, we point out that this passage is complete proof that the Apostles appealed to 
the resurrection as proof of the truth of the gospel and that belief in the resurrection was 
not a late growth. 

In the Epistle to the Romans, written around the year 57, in 1, 4, we read, “Marked out 
miraculously as the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead, our Lord Jesus 
Christ.” Again in 8, 1 1, we read, “If the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead 
dwells in you, he who raised up Jesus Christ from the dead will give life to your 
perishable bodies too, for the sake of his Spirit who dwells in you.” 

In Ephesians, 1, 20, written around the year 61, we find, “measure it by that mighty 
exercise of power which he showed when he raised Christ from the dead and bade him sit 
on his right hand above the heavens.” 

In Philippians, 2, 8-9, written also around the year 61 we read, “He lowered His own 
dignity, accepted an obedience which brought Him to death, death on a cross. That is 
why God raised Him to such a height.” 

In Colossians, 2, 12, written also around the year 61, we have, “You, by your baptism, 
have been united with his burial, united too with his resurrection.” 

In Hebrews, 13, 20, written around the year 65, we read, “May God the author of peace, 
who has raised our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead . . . grant you . . . to do his will, 
etc.” 

In I Peter, 1, 3, written around the year 67 (or perhaps even earlier), we read, “Blessed be 
that God, that Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his mercy has begotten us anew, 
making hope live in us through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 


Acts of tke Apostles 

The references we have taken from the Epistles occur in them just as reminders of what 
the readers already knew. In the Acts of the Apostles, we get accounts of how the 
Apostles first went about the work of preaching the Gospel. The Acts were written 
between the years 62 and 65. In them, Saint Luke describes the progress of Christianity 
from the resurrection onwards. Saint Luke has always been found a most accurate 
historian. His descriptions then of the earliest events in the history of the Church cannot 
be doubted. In these accounts of the Apostles’ “technique” in preaching, we invariably 
find two arguments: 1) Christ rose from the dead and 2) we are witnesses of it. 


While the Apostles and disciples were awaiting the coming of the Holy Ghost, they 
decided to fill the place vacated by Judas. In the discussion, Saint Peter said, “There are 
men who have walked in our company all through the time when the Lord Jesus came 
and went among us. One of these ought to be added to our number as a witness of his 
resurrection” (1, 21-22). 

On the day of Pentecost, Saint Peter preaches to the Jews in Jerusalem; he said, “This 
Jesus has God raised again, whereof we are witnesses” (2, 32). 

He used the same argument to the crowd after the healing of the lame man in the temple, 
“But the author of life you killed, whom God has raised from the dead, of which we are 
witnesses” (3, 15). 

It was his argument before the Jewish Council, before whom the Apostles were brought. 
“Be it known to you all and to all the people of Israel that by the name of our Lord Jesus 
Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God has raised from the dead, even by 
him this man stands before you whole. We cannot but speak the things which we have 
seen and heard” (4, 10, 20). 

We read in chapter 5 that the Apostles were again thrown into prison, released by an 
angel, and again brought before the Jewish Council. Saint Peter and the others replied, 
“We ought to obey God rather than man. The God of our fathers has raised Jesus whom 
you put to death, hanging him upon a tree . . . and we are witnesses of these things” (5, 
30-32). 

Saint Paul in tke Acts 

When Saint Paul comes on the scene in the book of the Acts, he uses the same argument. 
In Acts 13, we read how he preached in Pisidian Antioch. In his address, he said, “On the 
third day, God raised him from the dead. He was seen over a space of many days by the 
men who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem; it is they who now bear 
witness of him before the people.” 

When he was preaching in Thessalonica, we read (17, 3), “Over a space of three 
Sabbaths, he reasoned with them out of the scriptures, expounding these and bringing 
proofs from them that the sufferings of Christ and his rising from the dead were 
foreordained. “The Christ,” he said, “is none other than the Jesus whom I am preaching 
to you.” 

When he was in Athens, some of the Athenians thought he was preaching another pair of 
oriental gods, Jesus and Resurrection, so closely was the resurrection associated with the 
essence of the gospel. The Athenians on the Areopagus listened interestedly to what he 


had to say about God and repentance, but when he said (17, 3 1), “the man whom he has 
appointed for that end he has accredited to all of us, raising him up from the dead,” they 
declined to hear any more. (The moderns who reject the resurrection as untrue were not 
the first to reject it on that ground.) 


Tke Four Gospels 

It is impossible to give excerpts from the Gospels as separate references to the 
resurrection. The narratives of all four Gospels culminate in a description of the death 
and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. They have to be read in their entirety. Without 
the resurrection, the Gospels lose all point. The specific references to the resurrection in 
the four Gospels are given in the Appendix V. 


Testimony of Pagan Autkors 

It is clear that there is a mass of evidence from the New Testament that the resurrection 
was an integral part of the first preaching of the Gospel. The worth of the New 
Testament as trustworthy evidence is borne out by the unconscious testimony of two 
pagan writers of the early second century, Tacitus and Pliny the younger. We do not 
quote them as witnesses to the early Christian belief in the resurrection, but as evidence 
for the worth of the New Testament as recording what happened. As they were pagans, 
we cannot expect their testimony to throw much light on the doctrine of the early 
Christians. Their testimony is given from the point of view of outsiders, and rather 
hostile ones. It in no way contradicts but confirms the history of the Church as we learn 
it from the New Testament. (The extracts are provided in full in Appendices I and II.) 


Tacitus 

Tacitus was an historian. Pliny was governor of a Roman province, engaged in the 
administration of justice. Tacitus’s allusion to the Christians is short but it corroborates 
the New Testament on these points: 

a. Christ was put to death by Pontius Pilate. 

b. The early Christians were opposed and misrepresented. 

c. Christianity spread rapidly. 

d. The Christians were put to death for their faith. 


Of course, Tacitus does not say they were put to death for their faith as such. He says 
they were killed “not so much for the crime of firing the city as of hatred against 
mankind.” We might remember that Christ said, as reported in Matt. 10, 24-25, “A 
disciple is no better than his master. If they have cried “Beelzebub” at the master of the 
household, they will do it much more readily to the men of his household.” 


Pliny 

Pliny’s letter gives more corroboration to the beliefs and history of the early Christians as 
we know them from the New Testament. It shows: 

a. The rapid spread of the faith. 

b. The Christian abhorrence of idolatry. 

c. The high moral code of the Christians. 

d. Their readiness to obey the civil law. 

e. The belief in the Eucharist. 

f. The existence of a liturgy associated with the celebration of the Eucharist. 

g. The belief in the divinity of Christ. 

In Appendix II (b) provides an example of the method of dealing with neutral sources 
used by those who do not accept the Christian tradition. 


Tke P roblem of tke Empty Tomb 

All this evidence leaves no doubt that the early Christians believed that Christ rose from 
the dead and regarded it as an integral part of the Gospel. However, belief that an event 
occurred is not proof that it occurred. 

So, we have disposed of the conviction that the early Christians did not believe in the 
resurrection and that it was a later growth. We have still to show that the evidence for the 
resurrection is overwhelmingly strong. 

Before we begin to argue from the evidence, one other point must be emphasized: The 
problem of the empty tomb was urgent from the very beginning. 

Even though there can be no doubt that the Christians believed in the resurrection and 
based their faith upon it from Pentecost forward, it could be argued that does not dispose 
of the objection regarding the empty tomb. 


Between the burial and Pentecost, there was a gap of fifty days. If the death had been 
typical of the day, Jewish leaders would have ceased to be interested in the man from 
Galilee during that 50-day gap. Once the man had been executed, there would be no 
reason to pay attention to or be concerned about his leaderless followers. 

The situation was quite the opposite, as it turns out. There is abundant evidence that the 
problem was urgent to Jewish leaders even before the crucifixion. We have Saint 
Matthew’s account of Jewish anxiety about the burial and their concern regarding 
possible deception by Christ’s disciples. Saint Matthew also told us they placed an 
armed guard around the tomb. We also have his account of the story the Jews spread to 
explain the empty tomb — namely, that the disciples stole it. 

All this fits with what we know from other sources. All admit that the movement begun 
by Christ was of sufficient weight to move the Jewish leaders to arrange his death. Is it 
likely they forgot about it immediately after the crucifixion? 

During that 50-day gap, it is entirely probable that the final Christian philosophy took 
definite shape and that it was based on a resurrection witnessed by those forming that 
philosophy. There is plenty of evidence that, less than two months after the crucifixion, 
the “trouble” began to stir again. 

All this fits with the statement of Tacitus. Tacitus stated, “Christus, from whom the name 
had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of 
one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked 
for the moment, again broke out not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but even in 
Rome.” 

It is likely that leaders would have heard rumors of an alleged resurrection. If they did 
hear, it is likely that they would have taken some measures to cope with resurgence of the 
trouble. We know about the arrest of the Apostles after the cure of the lame man in the 
temple and the repressive measures taken that turned into the active persecution. 

The Tomb Was Empty 

The evidence so far, then, leads to this position: Christ was crucified as the leader of a 
“subversive” movement. He was buried but, on the third day, the tomb was found empty. 

What happened to the body? The Jewish authorities, if they could have produced the 
body, could have countered the resurrection story by producing it, and they had good 
reasons for being anxious to counter the story. However, there is no evidence that they 
produced the body. The contemporary evidence is their statement that while the guards 
were asleep, the disciples came and stole the body; the Christians declared that Christ had 
risen from the dead. 


How could the Jews, after Pentecost, have any positive means to disprove a 
resurrection — the body or the remains of it were, of course, no longer in the tomb — but 
could they be expected to know or to explain what had become of it? This is only a 
negative sort of objection and, like an argument from silence, has value only to raise 
doubts against a positive position. Again, however, the evidence is against it. 


Modern Hypotheses 

Many centuries later, unbelievers put forward a number of hypotheses to explain the 
empty tomb. 

One explanation is that Christ was not really dead but in a dead faint, and revived in the 
tomb. There is, of course, not a bit of evidence for this. In fact, evidence points in the 
totally opposite direction. The soldier whose duty it was to see that the crucified men 
were dead, had broken the legs of the thieves, but, when he came to Christ, he saw that 
He was already dead. It is unlikely that the thieves had been scourged before crucifixion, 
as Christ had been. Christ was apparently dead, but to be quite sure he was dead, the 
soldier ran the body through with a spear. 

This explanation is still inadequate to explain how an exit was made from the tomb, how 
the disciples came to believe in a resurrection, or what finally happened to the revived 
Christ if he had only fainted. 

We are, therefore, left with two possibilities (and there is evidence these two were in 
circulation at the time: 1) the Jews’ argument that the disciples stole the body and 2) the 
Christian argument that Christ rose from the dead. 


Jewisk Leaders’ Explanation 

If the resurrection is denied, the first possibility is the only explanation that can be 
entertained. This explanation assumes that the disciples were somehow inferior men (i.e., 
lacking in intelligence or moral worth or both). There is no evidence that this is true. 

The evidence states they were plain, average men, and seemingly, of no high or 
secondary education. However, plain, average men are not, on that account, odd or 
inferior men. Plain, average men can be very wise men and learned men can be inferior 
men. The French king called James I of England, “the most learned fool in 
Christendom,” and history seems to think him right. On the other hand, uneducated men 
can also be fools or rogues. As average men, the disciples could have been rogues or 
fools. We repeat however that there is no evidence to prove this. Again, the evidence is 
quite the opposite. 


Were the disciples rogues or fools? 

If the Apostles stole the body, they must have been rogues or fools. 

If they were more fools than rogues, the Apostles might have thought that by stealing the 
body they could somehow carry on the work of Christ, whatever it was they thought it to 
be. This is a more plausible suggestion than that they were rogues. 

What if the Apostles were more rogues than fools? If they were, they might have thought 
that they could derive some material gain, economic or political, from the fraud. There is 
evidence that some of them, some time before the crucifixion, had their eyes on political 
benefits from the gospel of the kingdom. The view that it motivated them to steal the 
body cannot be entertained for long. The history of the early church, as given in the New 
Testament and corroborated, as we have seen, by pagan authors, shows that, after the 
Ascension, all the disciples considered the mission of Christ to have been purely spiritual. 
If they stole the body with some idea of perpetrating a fraud, and human nature being 
what it is, they would not have persevered for long in a fraud that yielded no material 
gain but instead resulted only in persecution and death. 


Were the disciples fanatics? 

There is, then, the possibility that the disciples were deluded fanatics of some sort. 

It is well known that fanaticism can spur men to extremes of heroism, however irrational 
or deluded they may be. However, by its nature, heroism is not fanatical. All men revere 
the brave man who knows the danger yet perseveres in the course he has set. That brave 
man is always ready to “listen to reason,” but until he sees reasonable cause for a change, 
he will continue on his course. In life, the fanatic sees there is no escaping hardship or 
the risk of death. The fanatic adopts a fatalistic attitude and is deaf to every argument. 
The brave man is resolved because he has examined the situation honestly. The fanatic 
acts on impulse. 

There is no evidence that the disciples were fanatics. However, there is strong evidence 
that they acted as normal honest men would act. They were moved by the evidence 
before them. Their argument was always, “We have seen it.” 

The Gospel narratives make it clear that the Apostles were normal men. Originally, they 
were rather worldly-minded. They found it hard to understand the mystery of the 
kingdom. They were somewhat cowardly — or better, unused to overcoming fear. Peter 
was like most of us — “big talk,” when the danger is remote but inclined to yield when it 
is imminent. 


After the crucifixion, the Apostles were in a state of confusion. They forgot about Our 
Lord’s prediction that He would rise again. When the announcement of the resurrection 
was first made, they were disinclined to believe. One of them, Thomas, was thoroughly 
skeptical. “Until I have seen the mark of the nails in His hands, until I have put my 
finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into His side, you will never make me 
believe.” 

Eventually, they were all convinced and it was the evidence that convinced them. 

“We have seen it.” 


Convincing Others 

Today, among people who have somewhat lost their grip on the Christian tradition, there 
is a tendency to adopt a non-committal attitude to these arguments. They see their own 
rationalization, but still they hang back. It is not a new tendency. It was also a tendency 
of the men with whom the Apostles had to deal. It had been their own tendency. The 
Apostles’ method of approach to their contemporaries is itself proof that they were not 
fanatics. They knew what they were preaching was something that their listeners 
regarded as extraordinary. They themselves had felt the full weight of the objections 
against their preaching. They had considered the implications of the doctrine as far as it 
would affect themselves, but the evidence was compelling. This comes out very clearly 
in the 15th chapter of Saint Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians. (Keeping the 
following points in mind, read it in your own bible or in Appendix IV to this booklet.) 


Saint Paul Discusses tke Resurrection 

Saint Paul is answering enquiries from the Corinthians on points of doctrine. Some 
Corinthians were inclined to deny the teaching of Christ regarding the resurrection of the 
body (somewhat in the style of many people today, who claim to be Christians but choose 
or reject at will various elements of the Christian Revelation). Saint Paul writes to 
explain further the doctrine and appeals to the resurrection of Christ. 

First, he reminds the Corinthians of the main Christian teaching. He says, “The chief 
message I handed on to you as it was handed on to me, was that Christ, as the Scriptures 
had foretold, died for our sins, that he was buried, and then, as the Scriptures had 
foretold, rose again on the third day” (verses 3 & 4). 


He then tells them that Christ was seen after His resurrection on a number of occasions 
by different individuals and groups of disciples. 

Saint Paul then argued. If you say there is no resurrection from the dead, then Christ 
could not have risen. If He has not risen, then the whole of your faith is useless. And 
we — this is a most important point — are shown to be guilty of having given false 
testimony against God. We have testified that God raised Christ from the dead, and this 
could not be true if there is no resurrection from the dead. Manifestly, Paul was 
extremely conscious of the necessity of loyalty to truth. There was no “pious fraud” and 
no wishful thinking for him. 

He goes on to emphasize that, if there is no resurrection, the rest of their faith is vain, 
those who died in the faith are lost, and Christians are the unhappiest of people, for they 
lose in this world and their hope for the next is a delusion. But he continues, Christ did 
rise from the dead and, just as surely as He rose to a life of glory, so also will those who 
belong to Him. 

Later on in the chapter, Saint Paul stresses the fact that he has to undergo much hardship 
and persecution for the gospel. What use is it, if the dead do not rise? Better to follow 
the advice, “Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die” (verse 32). 

There is no trace of the fanatic or deluded fool in all this. Saint Paul squarely faces the 
issues raised by the mystery of life. Men are animals with animal desires. Men also have 
an intellectual and moral life. Man’s animal, intellectual, and moral lives are often at 
variance. Which is the more important? Men have always agreed that any lie or deceit in 
the soul is treason, and fatal to the well-being of the whole man. Saint Paul knows this 
well, and it could not be that he or the other Apostles — Saint Paul expressly identifies 
himself with the others (15, 1 1) — were party to a plot to foist some superstitious doctrine 
on the world based on a faked resurrection. 


Summary 


In brief, the historical case for the resurrection is this. Christ died and was buried. No 
one doubts this now. The evidence of the New Testament, backed by a constant church 
tradition, is that from the beginning, the Christians said He rose from the dead and that 
they appealed to the resurrection as proof of the gospel they preached. 


The New Testament also shows that the Apostles were honest men of strong common 
sense, who had been convinced by the evidence and, like brave men, were prepared to die 
for a doctrine that their love of truth had led them to accept. The reliability of the New 


Testament as truthful documentation is attested by the evidence of pagan authors, so far 
as the pagan authors touched upon the matter. Those who impugn the veracity of the 
New Testament build more upon hypothesis than on evidence. 

Readers who wonder whether the modem critics of the New Testament or whether the 
upholders of the orthodox Christian tradition are the most worthy of trust, will have to 
decide which they will choose to tmst from their personal knowledge of each,. Some 
considerations to ponder are provided in the Appendix II (b) and Appendix III of this 
booklet. 

Finally, if true, the resurrection of Christ explains the undeniable fact of the profound 
influence of the Christian Church in the history of the world. If not true, how is that 
worldwide influence to be explained? Whatever we think about it, Christ either rose or 
did not rise. The evidence is that He did rise. We reject that evidence at our peril. 
Traditional Christian teaching has been that, once we believe in the resurrection (and we 
will believe it, given honesty of intention), the universe ceases to be unintelligible. 


Appendices 

Appendix I. From tke Annals ol Tacitus (xv, 44) 

Tacitus had been recording the great fire of Rome in A.D. 64 and telling of the means 
taken by Nero to repair the material damage and of the religious rites performed to 
propitiate the pagan gods. 

He stated, “All human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of 
the gods did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order 
of Nero. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the 
most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the 
populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty 
during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilate. 

Further, a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out 
not only in Judea, the first source of the evil, but also even in Rome, where all things 
hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their center and become popular. 
Accordingly, an arrest was first made of those who pleaded guilty. Then, upon their 
information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the 
city, as of hatred against mankind. Every sort of mockery was added to their deaths. 
Covered with the skins of beasts, they were tom by dogs and perished, they were nailed 
to crosses, or they were doomed to the flames and burnt to serve as a nightly illumination, 
when daylight had expired.” 

“Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, 
while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car 
[chariot]. Hence even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, 
there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but 
to glut one man’s cmelty that they were being destroyed.” 


Appendix II (a). From Letters of Pliny tke Y ounger (Traj . 96) 

Pliny was a contemporary of Tacitus. He was appointed Governor of Bithynia by the 
Emperor Trajan in the year 1 1 1 or 1 12. He was a literary man and, in writing his letters 
(even official ones to the emperor) he had his eye on future publication. He was in 
Bithynia for a year and died soon after his return to Rome, probably in the year 1 14, at 
the age of 52. Here are some excerpts. 

“It is my custom, sir, to refer to you all matters in which I am doubtful. For who can 
better guide my indecision or instruct my ignorance. 


“I have never been present at the investigations concerning Christians, so I do not know 
what is the usual object and extent of either punishment or enquiry. I have wondered not 
a little whether there should be any distinction made between ages or whether the very 
tender are to differ in no way from the stronger. Should pardon be given upon repentance 
or is it of no avail for one who was completely a Christian to cease to be one. If it is not 
associated with evil deeds, should the very name, Christian, be punished or is it evil 
deeds going with the name, Christian, that are to be punished? Meanwhile, in the case of 
those who have been reported to me as Christians, this is the procedure I have followed: 

“I asked them themselves if they were Christians. Those who confessed, I questioned a 
second and a third time, threatening punishment. Those who persisted, I ordered to be 
led to execution. For I had no doubt that, whatever might be the nature of their belief, 
pertinacity and inflexible obstinacy should certainly be punished. There were others of 
similar madness, who since they were Roman citizens, I have entered up for transfer to 
the city (Rome). 

“Before long, merely as a result of the matter being dealt with, — as usually happens — the 
accusation became more common and more varieties of it appeared. A list was handed in 
bearing no signature and containing the names of many. 

“I decided to have dismissed those who denied they were or had been Christians. This 
after they had invoked the gods in my presence, had made supplication with incense and 
wine before your image (which for this purpose I had ordered to be brought in together 
with the statues of the divinities), and had moreover reviled Christ. It is said, those who 
are, in real truth, Christians can be forced to do none of these things. 

“Others, named by the informer, said they were Christians yet soon denied it. They had 
been indeed, but had ceased to be some three years since, some a greater number of years 
since, a few even twenty years since. All of these venerated your image and the statues 
of the gods and reviled Christ. 

“They declared, however, that the sum total of their fault or error was that they were 
accustomed on a given day to assemble before daylight and recite together in alternating 
verses ( secum invicem clicere ) a hymn to Christ as to a god ( quasi deo ) and to bind 
themselves by a sacrament. They declared further that they had bound themselves not to 
commit any wicked enterprise — not to commit thefts or robberies or adulteries, not to 
break their solemn word, and not to refuse to return a loan when called upon. They 
declared that when these rites were over, the custom was to depart and to meet again to 
take food, but food that was common and harmless ( promiscuum et innoxium ). This they 
had ceased to do after my edict, whereby, following your commands, I had banned the 


existence of clubs. For this reason, I believed it all the more necessary to find out, even 
under torture, what was the truth of the matter from two maidservants, who were called 
deaconesses. I found nothing but a superstition, depraved and unrestrained. 

“Accordingly, I have postponed the enquiry and have hastened to consult you. For the 
matter seemed to me worthy of consultation, especially in view of the number of those in 
danger. For many of every age, of every rank, of both sexes too, are being called into 
danger and will be called. This contagious superstition has permeated not only the cities 
but also even the villages and the country districts; and yet it seems it can be halted and 
corrected. Certainly, it is pretty well agreed that the temples, which up to the present 
have been almost deserted, have now begun to be frequented, and the accustomed 
sacrifices, for a long time discontinued, have been resumed, and fodder for the victims is 
being sold, for which up till now a buyer was rarely found. From this it is easy to 
conjecture what a multitude of people can be reformed if there be room for repentance.” 


Appendix II (b). Note on Pliny s Letter 

In the edition of Pliny’s letters still in use at the Melbourne University in 1955, there is to 
be found an instance of how untrustworthy is modern learning when there is question of 
Christian teaching and how hypothesis usurps honest examination of evidence. The 
edition is a selection of the letters, edited with notes by Prichard and Bernard, printed at 
the Clarendon Press and first published in 1872. 

Among the notes to the letter we have just given, there is this one, “QUASI DEO; these 
words are evidently thrown in by Pliny and must not be regarded as evidence of the belief 
of the church at that time in the Divinity of Christ.” 

There are two questions to be considered: 

a. What truth is there is in the note? 

b. Why was it included? 

The note says the words quasi deo are “evidently thrown in.” However, there is no 
ground in the text to indicate this is true. The evidence is that they were not “thrown in,” 
but carefully chosen. Pliny was manifestly trying to give a just account of the situation in 
Bithynia. He was passing on information he had acquired after careful examination. The 
natural reading of his words is that the Christians had told him that they worshipped 
Christ as God. If they did say that, and there is abundant evidence from the New 
Testament that they did regard him as God, how else could Pliny have put it? Less 
naturally, the words could be understood to mean that Pliny was putting his interpretation 
on what the Christians told him. The words are not “ evidently thrown in. ” Even on that 


reading of the words, the passage is evidence that the Christians believed in the divinity 
of Christ. There must have been something in what the Christians told him of their 
worship of Christ that would cause the fair-minded Pliny to describe it as rendered to 
Christ “as to a god.” 

Pliny, of course, did not believe that Christ was divine but his information came from the 
Christians. It is impossible to imagine what they could have told him except that they 
believed Christ was divine. We must also remember that the charge against the 
Christians was not crime but the very profession of Christianity. It was a question of 
ultimate loyalty, Caesar or Christ? The old Roman Republic had ended. The will of 
Caesar now gave authority to law. The divinity of the emperor was worshipped 
throughout the Empire — hence his image at the trial of the Christians. It is manifest that 
Pliny had chosen his words carefully — the Christians “evidently” had told him they 
worshipped Christ as God. Yet, if they worshipped the emperor and reviled Christ, they 
could go free. 

Why was the note put in? It is most emphatic. It is directed to correct the impression 
gained from the natural reading. It has no foundation in the text and it is not necessary 
for an understanding of grammar or syntax. 

The answer, we are sure, is to be had from recalling the date of the first edition of the 
book. The first edition was in 1872. The higher criticism of the Bible was then in full 
swing. In 1835, David Strauss had published a book in which he popularized the view 
that whatever was extraordinary in the Gospels was myth. This view, with varying 
modifications, was put forward by a number of subsequent writers. In 1883, Ernest 
Renan published his Life of Christ. In these books, the traditional Christian doctrines 
were knocked over one after another. There has been a reversal of this attitude in more 
recent times, but, in 1872, the view of the higher critics would have been very strong. 
Near the beginning of this “criticize the Bible” era, the early Christian belief in the 
divinity of Christ was denied and heavily attacked. 


Appendix III. The Attitude of Sir W illiam Ramsay 

The following extracts from C. S. Dessain, a scripture commentator, will help assess the 
value of the higher criticism of the New Testament. 

“The extraordinary accuracy of Saint Luke has also been demonstrated by the recent 
discoveries of archaeology. The story of the ‘conversion’ of Sir William Ramsay, who 
had been brought up to regard Acts as a second century forgery, is well known, and the 
archaeological evidence can be found in his books. 


Sir William Ramsay stated, “Every incident described in the Acts is just what might be 
expected in ancient surroundings. The officials with whom Paul and his companions 
were brought into contact are those who would be there. Every person is found just 
where he ought to be — proconsuls in senatorial provinces, Asiarchs in Ephesus, stregoi in 
Philippi, politarchs in Thessalonica, magicians and soothsayers everywhere. The 
magistrates take action against them in a strictly managed Roman colony like Pisidian 
Antioch or Philippi, where legality and order reigned. Riotous crowds try to take the law 
into their own hands in the less strictly governed Hellenistic cities like Iconium and 
Ephesus and Thessalonica.” ( The Bearing of Recent Discovery on the Trustworthiness of 
the New Testament (1915), 96.”) 


Appendix IV. From Saint Paul’s First Epistle to tke 

Corintkians (Ckapter 15) 

Here, brethren, is an account of the gospel I preached to you. It was this that was handed 
on to you; upon this, your faith rests; through this (if you keep in mind the tenor of its 
preaching) you are in the way of salvation; unless, indeed, your belief was ill-founded. 
The chief message I handed on to you, as it was handed on to me, was that Christ, as the 
scriptures had foretold, died for our sins, that he was buried, and then, as the scriptures 
had foretold, rose again on the third day. That He was seen by Cephas, then by the 
eleven Apostles, and afterwards by more than five hundred of the brethren at once, most 
of whom are alive at this day, though some have gone to their rest. Then he was seen by 
James, then by all the Apostles; and last of all, I, too, saw him, like the last child, that 
comes to birth unexpectedly. Of all the Apostles, I am the least. Nay, I am not fit to be 
called an apostle, since there was a time when I persecuted the church of God. Only by 
God’s grace, I am what I am, and the grace he has shown me has not been without fruit. I 
have worked harder than all of them, or rather, it was not I, but the grace of God working 
with me. That is our preaching, mine or theirs, as you will; that is the faith which has 
come to you. 

If what we preach about Christ, then, is that He rose from the dead, how is it that some of 
you say the dead do not rise again? If the dead do not rise, then Christ has not risen 
either; and if Christ has not risen, then our preaching is groundless, and your faith, too, is 
groundless. Worse still, we are convicted of giving false testimony about God; we bore 
God witness that he had raised Christ up from the dead, and he has not raised him up, if it 
is true that the dead do not rise again. If the dead, I say, do not rise, then Christ has not 
risen either; and if Christ has not risen all your faith is a delusion; you are back in your 
sins. It follows, too, that those who have gone to rest in Christ have been lost. If the 
hope we have learned to repose in Christ belongs to this world only, then we are unhappy 


beyond all men. No, Christ has risen from the dead, the first fmits of all those who have 
fallen asleep; a man had brought us death, and a man should bring us resurrection from 
the dead; just as all have died with Adam, so with Christ all will be brought to life. Each 
must rise in his own rank; Christ is the first-fruits, and after him follow those who belong 
to him, those who have put their trust in his return. Full completion comes after that, 
when he places his kingship in the hands of God, his Father, having first dispossessed 
every other sort of rule, authority, and power; his reign, as we know, must continue until 
he has put all his enemies under his feet, and the last of these enemies to be dispossessed 
is death. God has put all things in subjection under his feet; that is, all things have been 
made subject to him, except, indeed, that power which made them his subjects. When 
that subjection is complete, then the Son himself will become subject to the power which 
made all things his subjects, so that God may be all in all. 

Tell me, what can be the use of being baptized for the dead, if the dead do not rise again? 
Why should anyone be baptized for them? Why do we, for that matter, face peril hour 
after hour? I swear to you, brethren, by all the pride I take in the name of Our Ford Jesus 
Christ, that death is daily at my side. When I fought against beasts at Ephesus with all 
my strength, of what use was it, if the dead do not rise again? Fet us eat and drink, since 
we must die tomorrow. Do not be led into such errors; bad company, they say, can 
corrupt noble minds. Come back to your senses, like right-minded men, and sin no 
longer; there are some, I say it to your shame, who lack the knowledge of God. 


Appendix V. From the Four Gospels 

References to the resurrection from the four Gospels, as presented by Archbishop Alban 
Goodier, S.J., in his book, “The Risen Jesus” (Bums, Oates, 1943) are provided in the 
following sections. [The Scripture translation here is a slightly amended version of the 
Douay-Rheims New Testament .] 


V (a). The Empty Tomb 

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalen and the other Mary, the mother of James 
and Salome, bought sweet spices that coming they might anoint Jesus. On the first day of 
the week, very early in the morning when it was yet dark and when it began to dawn, they 
came to see the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared. The sun being 
now risen they said one to another, “Who shall roll us back the stone from the door of the 
sepulcher.” And behold there was a great earthquake and looking, they saw the stone 
rolled back, taken away from the sepulcher. For an angel of the Ford descended from 
fieaven and coming rolled back the stone for it was very great, and sat upon it. His 


countenance was as lightning and his raiment as snow. For fear of him, the guards were 
struck with terror and became as dead men. 

The angel answering said to the woman, “Fear not you for I know that you seek Jesus 
who was crucified. He is not here for he is risen, as he said. Come and see the place 
where the Lord was laid.” 

Entering into the sepulcher, they found not the body of the Lord Jesus. They saw a 
young man sitting on the right side clothed with a white robe. It came to pass, as they 
were astonished in their mind at this, behold two men stood by them in shining apparel. 

As they were afraid, and bowed down their countenance towards the ground, they said to 
them, “Be not affrighted. Why seek you the living with the dead. You seek Jesus of 
Nazareth Who was crucified. He is not here, but is risen. Behold the place where they 
laid him. Remember how he spoke unto you when he was yet in Galilee, saying the Son 
of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and the third day 
rise again. Going quickly, you all tell his disciples and Peter that he is risen. Behold he 
will go before you into Galilee. There you shall see him as he told you. Lo I have 
foretold it to you.” 

They remembered his words. 

Matthew 28, 1-7; Mark 16, 1-7; Luke 24, 1-8; John 20, 1. 


V ( b ). The First Apparition 

They going out quickly, fled from the sepulcher with fear and great joy, for a great 
trembling and fear had seized them. They said nothing to any man, for they were afraid. 

Mary Magdalen ran therefore and comes to Simon Peter and to the other disciple whom 
Jesus loved and says to them, “They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher and 
we know not where they have laid him.” 

Behold Jesus met them saying, “All hail.” 

They came up, took hold of his feet, and adored him. Then Jesus said to them, “Fear not. 
Go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee. There they shall see me.” 

Matthew 28, 8-10; Mark 16, 8; Luke 24, 9, 10; John 20, 2. 


V ( c). The First Witness 

Going back from the sepulcher, they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 
It was Mary Magdalen, and Joanna, and Mary of James, and the other women that were 
with them who told these things to the apostles. These words seemed to them as idle 
tales and they did not believe them. 

Luke 24, 9-11. 


V ( d). Peter and John 

Peter rising up went out and ran to the sepulcher, and that other disciple. And they came 
to the sepulcher. They both ran together and that other disciple did outrun Peter and 
came first to the sepulcher. When he stooped down, he saw the linen cloths lying, but yet 
he went not in. Then comes Simon Peter following him, and stooping down he saw the 
linen cloths laid by themselves, and went into the sepulcher, and saw the linen cloths 
lying and the napkin that had been about his head not lying with the linen cloths, but 
apart, wrapped up into one place. Then that other disciple also went in who came first to 
the sepulcher and he saw and believed. For as yet, they knew not the scripture that he 
must rise again from the dead. The disciples therefore departed again to their home and 
Peter went away wondering in himself at that which was come to pass. 

Luke 24, 12; John 20, 3-10. 


V (e). Mary Magdalen 

fie, rising early the first day of the week, appeared first to Mary Magdalen, out of whom 
he had cast seven devils. Mary stood at the sepulcher without, weeping. Now, as she 
was weeping, she stooped down and looked into the sepulcher and she saw two angels in 
white, sitting one at the head and one at the feet where the body of Jesus had been laid. 

They say to her, “Woman, why weep you?” 

She says to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they 
have laid him.” When she had thus said she turned herself back and saw Jesus standing, 
and she knew not that it was Jesus. 

Jesus says to her, “Woman, why weep you? Whom seek you?” 

She, thinking that it was the gardener, said to him, “Sir, if you have taken him hence, tell 
me where you laid him and I will take him away.” 


Jesus says to her, “Mary.” 


She, turning, says to him, “Rabboni” (“Master”). 

Jesus says to her, “Do not touch me for I am not yet ascended to my Father. But go to 
my brethren and say to them I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and 
your God.” 

Mary Magdalen comes and tells the disciples that had been with him, who were 
mourning and weeping. “I have seen the Lord, and these things he said to me.” And 
they, hearing that he was alive and had been seen by her, did not believe. 

Mark 16, 9-11; John 20, 11-18. 


V (f). The Disciples at Emmaus 

And behold, after that, he appeared in another shape to two of them walking that same 
day as they were going into the country to a town which was sixty furlongs from 
Jerusalem named Emmaus. They talked together of all these things which had happened. 
And it came to pass that while they talked and reasoned with themselves, Jesus himself 
also drawing near went with them, but their eyes were held that they should not know 
him. 

And he said to them, “What are these discourses that you hold with one another as you 
walk and are sad.” 

And the one of them answering whose name was Cleophas said to him, “Are you only a 
stranger in Jerusalem and have not known the things that have been done there in these 
days?” 

To whom he said, “What things?” 

They said, “Concerning Jesus of Nazareth who was a prophet, mighty in work and word 
before God and all the people. And how our chief priests and princes delivered him to be 
condemned to death and crucified him. Yet, we hoped that it was he that should have 
redeemed Israel. Now besides all this, today is the third day since these things were 
done. Yea, and certain women, also of our company affrighted us, who, before it was 
light were at the sepulcher, and, not finding his body, came saying that they had also seen 
a vision of angels who say that he is alive. And some of our people went to the sepulcher 
and found it so, as the women said, but him they found not.” 

Then he said to them, “O foolish and slow of heart to believe in all things which the 
prophets have spoken. Ought not Christ to have suffered these things and so to enter into 
his glory.” 


Beginning at Moses and all the prophets he expounded to them in all the scriptures the 
things that were concerning him. And they drew nigh unto the town whither they were 
going, and he made as though he would go farther. 

They constrained him saying, “Stay with us, because it is towards evening and the day is 
now far spent.” And he went in with them. It came to pass, whilst he was at table with 
them, he took bread, and blessed, and broke, and gave to them. 

And their eyes were opened and they knew him. And he vanished out of their sight. 

And they said to one another, “Was not our heart burning within us whilst he spoke in the 
way, and opened to us the scriptures.” 

Rising up the same hour, they went back to Jerusalem and they found the eleven gathered 
together and those that were with them saying, “The Lord is risen indeed and has 
appeared to Simon.” They told what things were done in the way and how they knew 
him in the breaking of bread. And they, going, told it to the rest; neither did they believe 
them. 

Mark 16, 12, 13; Luke 24, 13-35. 


V (g). First Appearance to the Apostles 

Now when it was late that same day, the first of the week, and the doors were shut where 
the disciples were gathered together for fear of the Jews, whilst they were speaking of 
these things, at length Jesus appeared to the eleven as they were at table, and came and 
stood in the midst of them. He upbraided them with their incredulity and hardness of 
heart because they would not believe them who had seen him after he was risen again. 

He said to them, “Peace be to you. It is I. Fear Not.” 

They, being troubled and frightened, supposed that they saw a spirit. He said to them, 
“Why are you troubled and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? See my hands and feet. 
That it is I, myself, handle and see, for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see me to 
have.” 

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet and his side. While yet they 
believed not and wondered for joy, he said, “Have you here anything to eat?” 

They offered him a piece of broiled fish and a honeycomb. When he had eaten before 
them, taking the remains, he gave to them. The disciples therefore were glad when they 
saw the Lord. 

He said therefore to them again, “Peace be to you. As the Father has sent me, I also send 
you.” 


When he had said this, he breathed on them and he said to them, “Receive all you the 
Holy Ghost. Whose sins you shall forgive they are forgiven them; and whose sins you 
shall retain, they are retained.” 

Mark 16, 14; Luke 24, 36-43; John 20, 19-23. 


V (h). The Apparition to Thomas 

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, who is called Didymus [the Twin], was not with them 
when Jesus came. The other disciples therefore said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” 

But he said to them, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails and put my 
finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” 

After eight days, again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them. Jesus comes, 
the doors being shut, and stood in the midst and said, “Peace be to you.” 

Then he said to Thomas, “Put in your finger hither and see my hands and bring hither 
your hand and put it into my side, and be not faithless but believing.” 

Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God.” 

Jesus says to him, “Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed. Blessed are 
they that have not seen and have believed.” 

John 20, 24-29. 


V (i). By the Sea of Tiberias 

After this, Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias. And he 
showed himself after this manner. There were together Simon Peter and Thomas, who is 
called Didymus, and Nathaniel, who was of Cana of Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, 
and two others of his disciples. 

Simon Peter says to them, “I go a-fishing.” They say to him, “We also come with you.” 
And they went forth and entered into the ship. And that night they caught nothing. 

When the morning was come, Jesus stood on the shore, yet the disciples knew not that it 
was Jesus. 

Jesus therefore said to them, “Children, have you any meat?” They answered him, “No.” 
He says to them, “Cast the net on the right side of the ship and you shall find.” 

They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes. 
That disciple therefore, whom Jesus loved, said to Peter, “It is the Lord.” Simon Peter, 


when he heard that it was the Lord, girt his coat about him, for he was practically naked, 
and cast himself into the sea. The other disciples came in the ship, for they were not far 
from the land, but as it were two hundred cubits, dragging the net with fishes. 

As soon, then, as they came to land, they saw hot coals lying and fish laid thereon, and 
bread. Jesus says to them, “Bring hither of the fishes which you have now caught.” 

Simon Peter went up and drew the net to land, full of great fishes, one hundred and fifty- 
three, and although there were so many the net was not broken. 

Jesus says to them, “Come and dine.” 

None of them who were at meat dared ask him, “Who are you,” knowing that it was the 
Lord. And Jesus comes and takes bread and gives them, and fish in like manner. This is 
now the third time that Jesus was manifested to his disciples after he was risen from the 
dead. 

When, therefore, they had dined, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, love 
you me more than these?” 

He says to him, “Yea, Lord, you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my 
lambs.” 

He says to him again, “Simon, son of John, love you me?” He says to him, “Yea, Lord, 
you know that I love you.” 

He says to him, “Look after my lambs.” 

He says to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, love you me?” 

Peter was grieved because he had said to him the third time, “Love you me?” And he 
said to him, “Lord, you know all things — you know that I love you.” 

He said to him, “Feed my sheep. Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you 
did gird yourself and did walk where you would. But when you shall be old, you shall 
stretch forth your hands and another shall gird you and lead you whither you would not.” 

This he said, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had said this, 
he says to him, “Follow me.” 

Peter, turning about, saw that disciple whom Jesus loved, following, who also leaned on 
his breast at supper, and said, “Lord, who is he that shall betray you?” 

Him, therefore, when Peter had seen, he says to Jesus, “Lord, and what shall this man 
do?” 


Jesus says to him, “So if I will have him to remain till I come, what is it to you? Follow 
you me.” 

This saying therefore went abroad among the brethren that that disciple should not die, 
yet Jesus did not say to him, “fie should not die,” but, “So if I will have him to remain till 
I come, what is it to you?” 

This is that disciple who gives testimony of these things and has written these things and 
we know that his testimony is true. 

John 21, 1-24. 


V(j). On the Mount of Galilee 

The eleven disciples went into Galilee, unto the mountain where Jesus had appointed 
them. Seeing him, they adored, but some doubted. 

Jesus, coming, spoke to them saying, “All power is given to me in heaven and in earth. 
Going therefore, into the whole world, preach the gospel to every creature. And, all you, 
teach all nations, baptizing them, in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the 
Holy Ghost, teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. He 
that believes and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believes not shall be condemned. 
These signs shall follow them that believe. In my name, they will cast out devils; they 
shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly 
thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay their hands upon the sick, and they shall 
recover. And, behold, I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world.” 

Matthew 28, 16-20; Mark 18, 15-18. 





^Resurrection” 

Szynion Czecliowicz (1689 — 1775) 


Tlie original was painted in 1758 and is currently in the National Museum in Krakow, 
Poland. Tliis is a laitlil ul photographic reproduction ol an original two-dimensional 
work ol art, which is in tlie Public Domain.* 



Tlie original ol this work is in the public domain in the United 
States and other countries and areas where the copyright term 
is the author s life plus 100 years or less. 



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